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Order Takers or Value Creators? | Engineering, Construction, and Facilities Study

Order Takers or Value Creators? Your Engineering, Construction, and Facilities (E/C/F) Department

Your facility is sort of like a favorite jacket. You wear it every day, so often that you forget it’s there. You walk through rain and wind, fixed on your phone or a friend or whatever else, and it’s your silent protector from the elements.

But then there’s a hole in it. Suddenly, you pay attention.

Your E/C/F department, when it’s functioning properly, may seem like it’s barely there at all. But imagine if that department played a more active, strategic role in your company. Imagine if you extracted all of its potential. Imagine if they stopped just taking orders and started sitting in your executive team meetings creating value for your company and shareholders. What could happen?

That proposition is the subject of a new, joint study between Continuum Advisory Group and the Construction Industry Institute (CII).

About the Study

Our study was inspired by E/C/F industry trends, particularly a re-evaluation of their strategic value.

“After hearing Jon Pemberton speak on his directive to cut 30% of the cost and 50% of the time out of the capital program delivery process at Intel, I immediately approached CII about collaborating on this study,” said Gretchen Gagel, President of Continuum Advisory Group. “The need for transformational change and improvement in our industry is a critical issue.”

In this study, we surveyed members of 35 E/C/F departments and their internal clients, representing large companies in diverse industries. Respondents were asked to rank the “maturity” of their E/C/F department, and how it affected their organization as a whole.

The left side of the scale represents that forgotten jacket, the E/C/F department that shows up and builds at the whims of upper management. The right side represents a fully integrated E/C/F department, one whose staff have equal weight in corporate strategy and decision-making.


Companies were candid in their responses. Those in the upper echelon of E/C/F integration noted cost savings, operational efficiencies, and better aligned strategic planning. The men and women of their E/C/F departments are seen as experts and thought leaders, people whose ideas can inform an overarching corporate strategy.

Often, those on the lower-end exhibited self-awareness. Many E/C/F departments face cultural, financial and logistical roadblocks to exerting their full potential. The study explores these roadblocks in detail through interviews with the people who face them.


Findings from this study will be presented at the 2016 CII Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD on August 3. The complete study will be published on August 4, 2016.

About the Authors

Continuum Advisory Group is a national management consulting firm serving the entire “continuum” of stakeholders within the engineering and construction industry, including owners, contractors, architects, engineers, homebuilders and building product manufacturers. Continuum Advisory Group solves strategic issues for our clients related to optimizing capital program delivery, resulting in improvements in schedule, cost, quality and safety.

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